Behind the Wheel: The Birth of the Mustang Mach-E Rally

A Ford Mustang Mach-E doing early testing on a rally course for the Mach-E Rally.

The idea for the Mustang Mach-E® Rally began casually, during a typical conversation in a Ford engineering breakroom. What started with a simple question—”Can we create a rally-inspired version of the Mustang Mach-E?”—evolved into a groundbreaking project for the Ford team. Product planners Peter Schultz and Craig Migliori were intrigued and decided to explore the potential by retrofitting a Mustang Mach-E GT with robust wheels and off-road tires. 

Ford engineers around a Mustang Mach-E doing early tests for the Mach-E Rally.

First Trials at Michigan Proving Grounds

Their initial experiment led them to the Michigan Proving Grounds where they tested the modified Mach-E GT. The rugged terrain and challenging conditions of the proving grounds were ideal for such a test, and the outcome was overwhelmingly positive, confirming that a rally version was indeed feasible. 

Designing for Durability and Style

The design phase focused on both aesthetics and functionality. The team equipped the Mach-E Rally with a 1-inch lift, RallyCross-tuned shocks, and springs to handle rough terrain. Aesthetically, the vehicle boasted gloss-white 19-inch wheels wrapped in durable Michelin® CrossClimate2 tires, underbody shielding, and a suite of rally-inspired accents like a front splitter and rear spoiler, enhancing its aggressive appearance. 

A professional driver doing early testing for the Mustang Mach-E Rally.

Rigorous Testing and Validation

Chris Berchin, a Ford off-road attributes engineer, along with Jay Kistler, the vehicle engineering supervisor, took the lead in the drive testing phase. They developed a rigorous 500-mile torture test simulating 10 years of rallycross racing. This test was vital in proving the Mach-E Rally’s durability and performance under various weather conditions and on different types of dirt tracks. 

A Mustang Mach-E doing early testing on a rally course for the Mach-E Rally.

Building a Custom Rallycross Track

The team’s ambition didn’t stop at vehicle modifications. They constructed a bespoke rallycross testing course at the Michigan Proving Grounds. By attending actual rallycross events and gathering firsthand data from experienced drivers, the engineers ensured the course would authentically replicate real-world rallycross conditions. 

Cost-Effective and Confidential Development

This project not only demonstrated Ford’s capability in adapting existing models for new challenges but also highlighted the benefits of in-house development. Keeping both the course and vehicle development internal helped manage costs and maintain the secrecy of the project. This strategic approach led to the Mustang Mach-E Rally team receiving a Vehicle Engineering Validation award from Ford, celebrating their innovative and successful project management. 

The new Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally in a beautiful, wooded setting.

Unveiling the Mustang Mach-E Rally

After over two years of development, the Mustang Mach-E Rally is ready to hit the dirt tracks—and soon, the consumer market. The vehicle includes a RallySport drive mode, which optimizes it for dirt-track driving without compromising its on-road capabilities. This mode enhances the vehicle’s handling, allowing for better control and bigger slides on loose surfaces. 

The Mustang Mach-E Rally is a testament to Ford’s commitment to innovation and the power of a simple, yet bold idea. Born from a casual conversation, it has transformed into a significant addition to the Mustang family, proving that great things often start with asking, “What if?” 



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